Yoga is not religion and really yoga isn't even spiritual. What crazy talk is this froma faith based yoga teacher? I believe yoga is a neutral set of tools that we can use to connect to our inner silence and therefore our faith. Connecting to our inner silence has spiritual potential for sure. Nothing can fill this space, no extravagance, no discipline, no indulgence and no philosophy. This space must be filled by spirit alone and when we do not take the time to be still and allow this space to fill then we find ourselves desperately working to fill this space with other things. Food, sex, drugs,rock and roll...you get the picture! Sometimes this "thing" we use to fill the hole can be our yoga practice.
Yoga is neutral until we begin to shape our practice. Then it can either magnify our neurosis or lead us to that beautiful space of stillness and healing.The huge irony is that the roots of yoga are that we practice asana (the postures) to come to a place where our bodies are capable of being still long enough to meditate, quiet the mind, and find that inner silence that will lead us to integrate our body, mind & spirit. When we practice yoga in a neurotic, obsessive, bossy, unhealthy way we move farther away from this still place.
This is when potential for injury arises both in body and spirit. In practicing every breath, every asana we must ask are we moving towards or away from our best self? The self that will fearlessly approach our physical boundaries but not recklessly crash through them. The self that will be still and rest and yet shed all remnants of laziness and sloth. Be industrious. Be present. Be still. And that is yoga. A wondrous tool box for your body, mind and spirit. A tool box for people of faith and people searching for fullness. But as we practice we shape our yoga at the same time it shapes us. So many stories in the news lately about yoga injuring so many people. Yoga is us, we injure ourselves as we shut down that still small voice inside. Yogis call it Inner Teacher, Christians know it as the Holy Spirit. It is separate from your personality and you thoughts...present in both but bigger than the sum of our parts. It is in discounting this Voice that we shape our yoga into a dangerous beast that shears our SI joints and twists us into broken piles.Let's not be those yogis. Step on the mat with presence. Mindfulness in your body awareness in your breath. Let's have 2012 be the year we occupy our bodies and practice with integrity.